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U.S. Meat Strengthens Bonds with Bermudan Chefs

Published: Apr 12, 2012
Chefs from a dozen leading Bermuda restaurants and resorts were hosted recently by legendary New York butcher DeBragga & Spitler, Certified Angus Beef LLC and USMEF to help expand on their understanding of and appreciation for the highest quality cuts of U.S. beef, pork and lamb. Support for the visit was provided through the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) as well as the Beef Checkoff and Pork Checkoff programs.

Founded in the 1920s, DeBragga & Spitler is known for its quality dry-aging and providing premium meat to New York’s finest restaurants. It also has a long-standing relationship with the Bermuda market through its importer, Butterfield & Vallis. Marc John Sarrazin, son of DeBragga & Spitler’s founder, led the visiting chefs on a tour of the state-of-the-art facility and one of the largest dry-aging rooms in the world.

“We were looking for that wow factor that would really get the chefs’ attention,” said Liz Wunderlich, USMEF’s Caribbean representative. “We wanted to bring them out of their element and show them the very latest and hottest meat trends in the USA. DeBragga had opened up a new facility, and this was really a good opportunity to tie in D&S’s commitment to Bermuda over the years.”

The visit included chefs from some of Bermuda's premier restaurants: Barracuda Grill, Swizzle Inn South Shore, Henry VIII, Grotto Bay, Port of Call, Wahoo’s, Cambridge Beaches, Southampton Princess Fairmount, Mid Ocean Club, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and Hamilton Princess. It was coordinated with the support of Butterfield and Vallis, a leading Bermudan red meat importer.

Maggie O’Quinn of Certified Angus Beef and a USMEF executive committee member, discussed cattle export and pricing trends as well as aging and sustainability trends in the industry. USMEF’s Wunderlich spoke mostly about pork and lamb cuts and trends, along with a special presentation by Mountain States Rosen lamb, a DeBragga supplier, which showcased underutilized cuts of all-natural lamb. One of the highlights of the day was a lunch featuring four types of burgers made from traditional and non-traditional cuts: grass-fed beef, Certified Angus Beef® dry-aged brisket and chuck, and American Wagyu. In addition, a blind tasting of New Zealand versus U.S. lamb drove home the American advantage.

As a result of the visit, chefs immediately placed orders for some of the cuts featured: lamb Denver ribs, Niman Ranch pork belly and Frenched chops, Certified Angus Beef ® flat iron and teres major, all of the artisanal burgers, plus a variety of heritage breed pork salamis (Oli’s Napoli, Calabrese, Norcino and Molisana).

The Caribbean is a growing region for U.S. red meat exports. In 2011, the region purchased 34,032 metric tons (75 million pounds) of American pork valued at $85.3 million; 26,382 metric tons (58.2 million pounds) of beef valued at $117.3 million; and 2,363 metric tons (5.2 million pounds) of lamb valued at $5.8 million.